By Elizabeth Rittiman - January 8th, 2015
Dustin withdrew from college 15 years ago because he needed to start working full-time, he now has the chance to finish what he started at CSU Global.
At CSU Global, we stand behind our commitment to students completing their goal of earning a degree. This is why we launched a special, full-tuition Gift of Education scholarship last month, for one new student who best communicated how education would impact their life.
Essays came pouring in. In fact, we received just over 150. Many with heartwarming stories. Needless to say, selecting a winner was a difficult task. Then we came across Dustin’s essay and it truly encapsulated what we as a university strive to accomplish.
When Dustin was 19 he was attending college on a partial academic scholarship. “I was ready to move forward with life,” he says, “but I was not prepared for the challenges I would soon face.”
He was going to school full time, working part time and living off campus in an apartment. His parents were trying to help, but money was tight.
“Things were tough was but I was getting by alright until the day I received a call that my parents were getting a divorce after over 20 years of marriage,” says Dustin. He says he was blindsided and confused and things got messy.
Then, things got worse. Dustin says, “That situation would pale in comparison to the phone call I received a few short weeks later. It was a phone call that my Mom had been rushed to the hospital.”
“I immediately got in the car and headed her way and when I arrived at the hospital I was notified that my Mom was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor and lung cancer,” says Dustin. He says during all the chaos he and mom had an emotional discussion regarding classes, money and the future. It was then he decided he needed to pull out of college and start working full time.
“Through the past 15 years I have remained persistent in my attempt to make something of myself, though not without some bumps along the way,” Dustin admits. “As a husband and father, the drive to succeed and provide for my family has served me well. I am the sole financial provider for my family of 5 which brings along plenty of pressure. I have done well for myself considering I don’t have a degree, but I have always been at a disadvantage as a result. I have worked extremely hard to get where I am today but if I want to continue to grow professionally I have to get my Bachelor’s Degree!”
Dustin says, “First and foremost, I want this for myself because I am ready to earn it and I deserve it. I want this for my wife because she has remained so supportive. I want to set the example for my 3 children that education is meaningful and it should be pursued despite the challenges that life throws at us. Last, I really want my Mom to see me graduate because she is a fighter and I want her to see that I am too.”
Dustin will be working towards his degree in Business Management. He says he’s getting back into the swing of things and enjoying the class format so far.
Elizabeth Rittiman spent the first seven years of her career working in television news. When she moved to Denver with her husband in 2011 she used the opportunity to switch gears in her career to find a role where she could be more of an advocate for the things she was passionate about, education being one of them. When she’s not working, she enjoys skiing and snowshoeing in the Rocky Mountains.